Hamas vows to retaliate if Israel assassinates leaders as war of words intensifies

Hamas vows to retaliate if Israel assassinates leaders as war of words intensifies
Tension between Israel, Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups have increased as deadly Israeli raids in the occupied West Bank continue.
2 min read
28 August, 2023
The Hamas statement comes after Netanyahu threatened Hamas leader Salah Al-Arouri [Getty]

Palestinian Islamist group Hamas warned on Sunday of retaliation in the event the Israeli military assassinates its leaders in the region.

In a statement the group, which controls the Gaza Strip, warned that "any harm against the resistance leaders will be responded to forcefully and decisively."

Israel previously named Salah Al-Arouri, who is the deputy head of Hamas' political bureau, as a leader it could target. Hamas said Israeli threats to him were "hollow".

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The latest Hamas statement comes as part of a war of words between the Israeli government and the group as tensions between the two increase.

Earlier on Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made comments about Al-Arouri, saying "it's not a coincidence that he's in hiding. Whoever backs terrorism will pay the full price."

Netanyahu also accused Iran of being behind Hamas threats to Israel, saying "we will stand together, and we will defeat them."

His comments came after Al-Arouri spoke of the increasing tension and the chances of confrontation between Israel and Hamas in an interview with pro-Iran Lebanese media outlet Al-Mayadeen.

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During the interview Al-Arouri said that the Israeli government's policies "will cause an all-out war in the region" and that Hamas is "ready and prepared for it."

He added that "Israel will face an unprecedented defeat in its history, and we are confident of that."

Tensions between Israel and Palestinian armed factions follow ongoing deadly Israeli raids in the occupied West Bank which have killed over 200 Palestinians since the beginning of the year.